By Jim Kouri
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s recent visit to the U.S.-Mexican border was less than admirable when she accused local officials and others of exaggerating the danger and violence within border states such as Arizona, California and New Mexico, according to several lawmakers and enforcement officials on Monday.
Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) responded to Napolitano’s comments with outrage, calling for an all-encompassing strategy to provide for U.S. national security through what he termed “bold steps and bold solutions.”
Mack believes that U.S. foreign policy has neglected this reality and now must reestablish its authority of the United States over illegal organizations which threaten U.S. security at the Mexican border.
Mack stated, “A counterinsurgency strategy from our government that includes civil society, law enforcement, civil authorities and military personnel at the U.S. border is urgently needed. Repeated calls on the Administration have not gotten ahead of this plague and the lives of more U.S. citizens have been taken in the meantime, adding to the tens of thousands of people who have been killed in a drug war, [while]expanding the influence of terrorists.”
A report unveiled this week by DHS agencies shows progress in seizures and apprehensions, but falls short in keeping America safe, Rep. Mack noted. Mack quickly responded to the DHS report with his own proposed strategy for securing the U.S. Mexico border while restoring U.S. sovereignty.
Mack claims the Obama administration must double the number of Border Patrol Agents from 20,000 to 40,000 and fully fund needed border protection equipment such as additional unmanned aerial vehicles and the complete the double-layered security fencing in urban, hard to enforce areas of the border.
President Barack Obama should utilize the full resources of the U.S. intelligence community for the border security mission.
“Rep. Mack makes some excellent points and provides solutions such as having 40,000 border agents. In New York City [where I worked as a police officer] there are upwards of 50,000 police and law enforcement officers, the largest agency being the NYPD. That’s for one city and that’s great. But for two huge borders, we only have 20,000 agents? That doesn’t sound like we give border security the attention it needs,” said former police detective and military intelligence officer Mike Snopes.
Snopes also pointed out that 20,000 agents doesn’t mean that’s the number on duty. “When you begin to breakdown the numbers to reflect three shifts, days off, holidays, vacations, sick days, personal days — you’re lucky if you have 7,000 or 8,000 agents covering both borders at any one time,” said Snopes.
As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Congressman Mack will hold hearings to both implement his new strategy and expose the truth behind the Administration’s failures in the drug war.
According to the membership of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544, which represents U.S. Border Patrol agents in Tucson, Arizona, “[Attorney General Eric] Holder and DOJ [Department of Justice] found resources to challenge Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. This is an obvious political ploy, and Americans should be outraged [that] they actually go after a state for trying to do something about the out-of-control illegal immigration mess.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents overwhelmingly said that their department’s leadership has become politicized to the point of affecting the effectiveness of ICE.
ICE agents through their union claim their leaders have little regard for the safety of American people. Their union has released a letter announcing its recent unanimous “vote of no confidence” in ICE agency heads, accusing them of “misleading the American public” regarding illegal immigration in order to further a pro-amnesty agenda. The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council and its affiliated local councils cast a unanimous 259-0 vote of no confidence in ICE Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven.
The National Council members criticized the ICE leadership and claim they created “misguided and reckless initiatives,” and claim ICE managers “abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for policies and programs related to amnesty.”